Health Care “Reform”: The Short of It

Congress and Obama will deliver unto us:

  • an entitlement program that promises “free” or “inexpensive” access to drugs and medical services;
  • higher prices for drugs and medical services, fueled by greater demand (thanks to the entitlement program) and shrinking supply (as more providers decline to accept government-set fees and red tape); and, therefore,
  • more expensive, and rationed, medical care.

The unthinkable alternative — and the only workable one — is to stimulate supply by deregulating the medical professions and the pharmaceutical industry.

In short, Obamacare will not work, unless government (a) nationalizes the drug industry and the medical professions and (b) drafts individuals into the medical professions, Soviet-style. Neither event is unimaginable, as evidenced by the enthusiasm with which  politicians have embraced the nationalization and regimentation of American financial institutions.

Of course, to suggest that Obamacare could be made to work through nationalization and regimentation is to suggest that nothing works unless it is run from Washington. That is precisely the belief held by Obama, most members of Congress, and far too many Americans.

UPDATE: Nationalization and regimentation will not take place immediately upon the enactment of Obamacare, but in response to its obvious objective: Drive private insurers out of business so that government is “forced” to step in, assume the role of the “single payer,” and effectively ration the delivery of prescription drugs and medical services. For an analysis of the slippery-slope mechanisms by which this will happen, see Mario Rizzo’s “Fast Track to the Single Payer.”

UPDATE 2: The chief actuary of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services confirms that Obamacare will drive costs up, not down.

Related posts:
Fear of the Free Market — Part I
Fear of the Free Market — Part II
Fear of the Free Market — Part III
Rationing and Health Care
The Perils of Nannyism: The Case of Obamacare
More about the Perils of Obamacare